Memphis “M” Engel is stubborn to a fault, graced with an almost absurd knowledge of long lost languages and cultures, and a heck of an opponent in a fight. In short: she’s awesome.
Ashwin “Ash” Sood is a little too posh for M’s tastes, a little too good looking, and has way too many secrets. He desperately wants the ancient map M inherited from her archaeologist father, believing it will lead him to a relic with the power to destroy the world. M obviously can’t trust him.
Equally desperate to find the relic for reasons of her own, M forms an uneasy partnership with Ash. From the catacombs of Paris, to a sacred forest in Norway, to the ruins of a submerged temple in Egypt, together they crisscross the globe in their search. But through it all, M can never be sure: Is she traveling with a friend or enemy?
In their latest collaboration, Burns and Metz prove once again the magic that happens when two talented mystery authors work together. Going on M’s journey will have readers’ hearts race with every page. With its dangerous secrets
and dark mythology, I Do Not Trust You is irresistible to any fan of YA thrillers.
As you probably guessed from the 4-star rating, I really enjoyed I Do Not Trust You. With its mythology and travelling-the-world-and-finding-clues elements, this book gave me total Rick Riordan x 39 Clues but YA vibes—two of my favorite things to read when I was younger.
Let’s start with the characters. Firstly, there’s M, short for Memphis (named after her father’s favorite Egyptian city-state). I loved reading about M: she’s more than capable of defending herself, and also ridiculously smart. (She actually reminded me a bit of Sherlock mixed with Frankie Landau-Banks.) She’s a badass. Then we have Ash, short for Ashwin, the sweet, polite, and slightly mysterious guy who shows up to tell M that her father is alive after supposedly being dead for months.
One of my favorite things about I Do Not Trust You is the enemies-to-friends relationships between these two characters. I enjoyed reading the banter between the two of them, and I loved how they slowly gained trust for one another.
I also liked that there was just a small hint of romance—there was chemistry, but the focus of the book was on the mission. Don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of fluffy, romantic books too, but the way the authors prioritized other elements of the plot, like finding ancient artifacts and fleeing from cult followers, felt right for the story.
Speaking of ancient artifacts and fleeing from cult followers, the mythology aspect of the book was another one of my favorite parts. There is a focus on Egyptian mythology, but lots of other mythologies are sprinkled in as well. The way that myths and magic were used in the book’s plot created what I thought was a highly interesting discussion of religion.
Since most of the book was centered around M and Ash flying around the world searching for pieces of an Egyptian statue, there was a whole lot of travel in I Do Not Trust You. I loved reading about all the places they visited, from caves in Italy to a festival in India. That said, the speed at which the characters moved from place to place did make it seem like each setting had untapped potential, but all in all, I was a huge fan of the travel aspect of this book.
Other than that, my main complaint has to do with the way the book ended. It felt like everything happened so fast, and the writing could’ve been a bit stronger near the end—there were some loose ends that weren’t really tied up. (Like there’s this minor character named Veronica who seems to be important to the plot near the end but is never really explained?)
Other than those very minor negatives, I greatly enjoyed journeying across the world with M and Ash. The characters were great, and I really liked the mythology and travel aspects of the story. Definitely recommend!
Click here to read an excerpt of I Do Not Trust You!
“You should’ve seen Miss Memphis here get into it with Nick last period,” Brianna said, squeezing in between M and Inez at their usual spot in the cafeteria. “She shut him down with her crazy ancient cultures voodoo.”
“He’s an ass. He’s lucky he’s hot,” their friend Ayana commented, waving her spork in Nick’s direction.
M shrugged. “I wouldn’t try to debate him in Physics. I just know more about Rome than he does.”
“What about AP Chem? Would you debate him in that?” Inez asked in a fake-serious voice. “Would you debate him in German class?”
“She’d debate him in German, in German,” Brianna joked. “And if he tried to fight back, she’d switch to Greek.”
M threw a French fry at her. “I can’t help it. I grew up speaking different languages.”
“And learning about pharaohs. And becoming well versed in the history of the Etruscan people,” Ayana said, putting on a fake accent that was probably supposed to be British. “Oh, and setting broken bones in the bush.”
“That only happened once,” M muttered. Her friends laughed.
“Anyway, it was epic. Thanks,” Brianna said. “I can’t stand fighting with people, and Nick always goes after me.”
“He knows you hate it,” M pointed out. “That’s why he does it.”
“An ass, like I said.” Ayana shrugged.
“You think he’s coming to the party tonight?” Brianna
“Probably. Everyone else is,” Inez replied. “Even Memphis.”
M made a face. “Anything to get out of the house. Bob and Liza would expect me to play board games with them otherwise.” Her friends exchanged a glance. M winced. “No
“Oh, were you offending someone?” Nick piped up from behind her. “Good girl.”
Immediately Bri looked down, while Ayana rolled her eyes. Inez just smirked, glancing back and forth between M and Nick.
“I was not offending anyone. I only meant I don’t like parties,” M said. She didn’t bother to turn toward him. It didn’t matter; he inserted himself onto the bench next to her anyway. A little tingle ran up her spine as the scent of his cologne hit
her nostrils, spicy and warm.
“Mmm, they’re boring. Everyone talking about the prom or the senior trip or whatever. I’m over it,” Nick said.
Me too, thought M, wishing she didn’t agree with him. She loved her friends, but even they were all about high school. M just didn’t care. High school was nothing more than what she had to get through before she could leave. After the crash, after the shock of Bob and Liza becoming her guardians, she’d asked if she could go off to college early, either Boston University or the University of Sheffield in England. Both had the kind of archaeology program she wanted and would’ve let her in with no questions. They knew her father. They knew high school was a waste of time for someone like her.
But her guardians said no. They said she needed stability and normalcy after losing her dad. Never mind that traveling the world and taking care of herself was normal for her. While she and Dad technically lived in Boston, she’d never spent more than a few months there during the school year. They traveled. Half the year spent on digs. She missed it.
“What’s with this thing, anyway? Is it to fight off bad guys?” Nick teased, finding an excuse to touch her. He reached for M’s collapsible bo staff, tucked in the inside pocket of her jacket like always. But before he touched it, before his flirty smile registered in her mind, M had already grabbed his hand, twisted it back to the breaking point, and used the pain to push him off the cafeteria bench and onto the floor. With her other hand, she whipped out the stick and shoved it up against his throat.
M froze. He’s just hitting on you. Her friends were aghast, and everyone nearby watched, openmouthed. Nick’s eyes were wide with panic.
“Sorry.” M stood up, leaving Nick on the floor. “I’m really sorry.”
“Freak,” he muttered, climbing to his feet. He glanced around, noticing the barely concealed laughter from onlookers. “Jeez, I just wanted a fry,” he joked, as if he hadn’t been humiliated, then hurried out of the cafeteria.
“What. The. Hell?” Inez asked. “He was flirting with you and you beat him up!”
“I know.” M groaned, shoving her staff back into her pocket. “I didn’t mean to. It was just reflex.”
Her friends were silent. She’d freaked them out. Should she explain the years of self-defense and martial arts training? That she and Dad ended up in some rough places? Her
friends lived in a city, they understood danger. Sort of. In a nice, upscale Boston kind of way.
M sighed. There was no point in trying to explain. Nobody understood her life.
“You kinda push all the guys away,” Brianna pointed out quietly. “Maybe not like that, but still . . .”
“I don’t do romance,” M replied. She was done with love, period. She’d loved her parents, and they were both gone. Love hurt too much. It was better to steer clear of it.
They all ate in silence for a minute.
“I mean, he is an ass,” Ayana said finally. And everybody laughed.
M: You up?
MIKE: It’s a 12 hr time difference. Of course I’m up.
M: Like you never sleep in on weekends.
MIKE: Fine, your text woke me.
M: I don’t think that glyph is a lotus. It’s bending the wrong way.
MIKE: It has to be a lotus. If it’s not, the whole phrase is wrong.
M: The rest of the phrase never sat well with Nefertum anyway.
MIKE: Your dad said it was a lotus.
Are you interested in reading I Do Not Trust You? Are you a Rick Riordan and/or 39 Clues fan? Talk to me in the comments!
Thank you to Wednesday Books for including me on the blog tour and for providing me with a review copy of this book! This in no way affected my review and all opinions in this post are my own.